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True Yoga Stories: Success with Middle Schoolers

Report from today, March 11, 2016; All boys yoga class; average age: 11

Teacher: First day of yoga, please come in and lie down on a mat to relax a bit.

Students: Everyone runs to a mat. Three boys make a pile up on one mat and wrestle, the rest of them flop down in various positions.

Teacher: Please keep your voices off so you can hear what to do.

Students: Two boys call out, “I’ve done this before!” ; another, “ssshhh!” and yet another pretends to snore in savasana. A few do listen quietly.

Teacher: OK, time for sun salutations

Students: Everyone participates while yelling out what poses they can’t do (mainly touching their toes).

Teacher: Now for some partner yoga.

Students: Several partners wrestling and play hitting each other, then trying out the partner yoga poses with some success.

Teacher: Let’s learn warrior 1, 2 and 3 poses.

Students: I want to do warrior 7 and 9 instead!

Teacher: Ok, everyone into child’s pose please.

Students: everyone (literally everyone) is quiet

Teacher: Ok, now some challenge poses. Let’s try side arm balances.

Students: All doing their best. Some giving up but finally giving it another shot to find out they can do it.

Teacher: Now let’s lie down in savasana.

Students: Everyone (well, ALMOST everyone except for one trying to pinch his neighbor) is quiet and still.

Teacher: Time to go, please clean up your mats.

Students: “Yoga is over already?! That was too short.”

PDS child's pose.JPG
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Advice post-training: Your questions answered

Asana Alphabet regularly receives emails and phone calls on specific questions for teaching kids yoga.  Though you may have taken workshops and have even taught classes before, there is always room for growth and more questions.  We’d thought we’d share them as they come in so you can take advantage of the advice too. From today:

Q:  Tomorrow I am having my first class with to brothers age 6 and 11 and would love to ask for advice from you; I feel challenged teaching these two at the same time because of the age difference!  What/how would you set up a class in a situation like this?

A: In general, you’ll have to see what happens on day one because privates are so different from one another…if these brothers get along well, then it shouldn’t be a problem.  If they do not get along, the parents may want to consider doing a half hour separately for each child (if you are there for an hour). 

Since a lot of the regular games you would play with a 6-year-old may be too childish for the 11-year-old (but you never know…my middle schoolers do like a lot of those games), you’ll probably want to drop the songs/storytelling aspects of class.  Start with the regular sun salutations, time to see how long they can hold a balance on each foot as an initial diagnosis and intro to yoga.  Bringing a ball along would be fun for the 6-year-old as well as for age 11…they can balance and toss the ball back and forth, pass it back and forth in navasana, hold a stretch and toss it back and forth…something they both will probably like.  If they get along, some partner yoga may work well too (especially double balances, double triangle, double plank).  After day one, you’ll probably have a good sense as to what they will enjoy together and be able to tailor accordingly.  

For more questions or to take a training where many answers are received, email us for information at AsanaAlphabet@gmail.com

Namaste, Ann 

Director, Asana Alphabet